Waiting For You
Independent / Symphonic Distribution (release date: May 19, 2023)
By Robert M. Marovich
On his ninth album, Waiting For You, Bishop Lawrence Hancock continues to ride in his own distinctive lane of Christian hip hop.
As with most of his recent releases, Hancock’s analog vocal entreaties whirl in a digital galaxy of urgent, repetitive, and minimalist music. Like summaries of previously-preached sermons, Hancock’s free form statements are fundamental messages for dealing with a complex world through faith in God. The songs move with the insistence of ticking clocks.
The theme of Waiting For You is of a God who never leaves his people’s side and encourages them to remain focused on Heaven, because Heaven belongs to everyone. Attaining Heaven, according to several of the tracks, means being more like Jesus. For example, “Move Me” asks God to shine his light so we may, in turn, shine our light in service of the less fortunate. Melodic snippets layered atop psychedelic beats support this and other statements. Each track is a soundscape that can stand on its own, as opposed to being part of an indissoluble whole.
“Nothing Short of Amazing” is a praise piece backed by fuzzy electric guitar and acoustic guitar. It seems forever on the verge of climaxing into an explosion of sound, but never gets there. “Dancing for the Lord,” on the other hand, picks up the praise plaudits where “Nothing Short of Amazing” leaves off and moves to a disco groove that its predecessor only hints at.
If Christian hip hop has an experimental art song subgenre, Bishop Lawrence Hancock is one of its chief purveyors.
Three of Five Stars
Picks: “Move Me,” “Dancing for the Lord”